I am a sex therapist, and as such, utilize a sexual health approach to treatment. I view consensual sexuality as affirming, life-giving and essential to our humanity.
With consensual sexuality, sex does not need to be feared. (Unless that is part of what is arousing for you). Our relationship to sex is typically what causes us problems.
Being of Two Minds
Clients that seek me out are typically of two minds. They are in crisis, due to a consequence of their sexual behavior. And they feel conflicted due to the pleasure that they have found in their sexual behaviors. The very thing they want to remove is also the very thing that brings them pleasure. What to do?
Therapy is a place to create a new vision of sexual health, without removing the pleasure. Some treatment approaches are focused on eliminating the sex that was gratifying for the clients. I believe that sustained treatment has to find a way to integrate personal values and pleasure. As noted sexologist Jack Morin said, “If you go to war with your sexuality, you’re bound to lose.”
I’m interested in helping clients find a way to integrate sexual pleasure, personal values and relationship agreements. And I see it happening all the time.
I approach therapy from a psychodynamic, strength-based and motivational interviewing perspective.
Psychodynamic means that I’ll be tracking and paying attention to our relationship as part of the treatment. The therapy room is a place where clients get to bring their “symptoms” so that we can experience and understand them together. For example, if you are someone who is avoidant in your personal life, you might find yourself being avoidant with the therapist. The avoidance in the therapy room gets to be observed and discussed and understood from a non-judgmental and non-shaming lens.
Strength based means that we’re going to focus on what you’re doing well as well as where you struggle. Understanding what’s broken is important. But understanding where you feel pride is equally important. Positive reinforcement has a much higher predictability towards behavioral change than shaming or judgement. And change is most likely why you’ve come to therapy.
Motivational Interviewing is a clinical model of therapy emerging out of the chemical dependency field. It describes a linear model of behavioral change. Clients move through each stage of change prior to taking action. For therapy to be effective, the therapist must understand which stage of readiness the client is in and work with from there.
I have found this to be very useful in my clinical work and to be consistently effective with even the most difficult clinical presentations.